Cozy dinner for family Valentines

  • By Judyrae Kruse Herald Columnist
  • Monday, February 14, 2011 12:01am
  • Life

As promised in the Friday Forum, coming right up is the how-to for a sumptuous crockpot pot roast I’ll be drooling over (and I hope you will be, too) until it’s taken up and on the Valentine’s Day dinner table.

The creation of Heather Hunsaker, chef and graduate of Le Cordon

Bleu College of Culinary Arts, it comes from years of experience developing family friendly meals (she started at 9) in her mother’s kitchen.

She is an avid crockpotter, knows how to get food on the table in a pinch, and currently serves as a writer and recipe developer for meal planning at

First, let’s hop out to the kitchen to get the pot roast going.

Then, since it will cook to perfection all by itself, we might think about making a salad. Maybe a Mexican-style bowl of greens, red onion and fresh orange pieces, dressed with a zippy citrusy concoction and topped with salad toasts hearts.

Toasts recipe submitter shebess ( says any favorite shaped cookie cutters can be used, and she uses hearts for Valentine’s Day, stars for the Fourth of July and tree-shaped toasts for Christmas.

She also sometimes adds some garlic when she makes these: Using a 3-inch cutter, cut 8 hearts or other shapes from 8 slices of white sandwich bread. In a pan, heat 2 tablepoons olive oil or butter over low heat. Combine 1 teaspoon orange zest and 2 cups minced parsley; add to oil or butter. Lightly coat cut-outs with mixture and arrange on a cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees about 5 to 7 minutes, until browned lightly. Serve with salad. Makes 8 toasts, 2 per serving.

Crockpot Mexican pot roast

1 teaspoon taco seasoning

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

1 beef round roast, about 2 pounds

1/2 large onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 large (1 pint, 8 ounces) bottle beer

1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce

2 pounds red potatoes, cut into bite-size pieces

Gravy (recipe follows)

In a small bowl, mix together the taco seasoning, chili powder, oregano, cumin, seasoned salt and pepper; set aside. Pour olive oil over the roast, add the seasoning mixture and rub into the meat.

In another bowl, combine the onion, garlic, beer and tomato sauce, mixing well. Place the potatoes in the bottom of the slow cooker. Place the prepared meat on top of the potatoes. Pour the beer mixture over the roast and potatoes. Cover crockpot and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours.

Prepare gravy when roast is done cooking. Remove the roast and potatoes from the slow cooker and serve topped with the gravy.

Makes 5 servings.


2 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

21/2 cups cooking liquid from roast

Heat a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add the butter to the hot skillet and melt. Stir the flour into the melted butter to form a roux. Stirring constantly, let the roux cook for 1 to 2 minutes until thick, then stir in the 2 1/2 cups roast liquid and cook, stirring, until thickened.

The next Forum will appear in Wednesday’s Good Life section. Meanwhile, have a yummy Valentine’s Day.

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